The male killer whale suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, authorities said.
The 18-year-old killer whale found dead off the coast of British Columbia this week suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, according to the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
That could indicate the male orca, designated J34, was struck and killed by a boating vessel, department spokesman Paul Cottrell told CTV News Vancouver.
The whale’s carcass was seen floating Tuesday near the town of Sechelt, north of Vancouver, B.C., according to the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor.
Including the latest loss, at least five members of the famous orca family group called J-pod died this year, center Director Ken Balcomb said. The pod is part of what’s called the southern-resident killer-whale population, which was listed as endangered in 2005.
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Canadian officials are continuing to investigate the death of J34.